Ankara warns Athens against ‘harsh’ treatment of refugees

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Communications director Fahrettin Altun on Sunday warned Greece to end its “harsh” treatment of refugees after Greece’s immigration minister made accusations against Türkiye on Twitter.

“We warn Greece to abandon its harsh treatment of refugees as soon as possible, stop its baseless false accusations against Turkey and restore the dignity of the government,” Altun said on Twitter.

The official said “the Greek fake news machine is back to work” after Greece’s immigration minister “tried to cast suspicion on our country by sharing false information”.

His remarks come a day after Greece’s Migration and Asylum Minister Notis Mitarachi accused Türkiye of abusing 92 refugees at the Greek-Turkish border, tweeting a 2019 photo of migrants who were actually robbed, stripped and left for dead by Greek security forces at the border.

“With these futile and ridiculous efforts, Greece has once again shown the world that it does not respect the dignity of refugees by publishing the photos of these oppressed people whom it deported after extorting their personal property”, Altun said.

“The Greek authorities must first account for the infants they caused to drown in the Aegean Sea, as well as the people they stripped naked, beat with belts and left to freeze to death in Maritsa thanks to their complicity with Frontex “, he added, referring to the European Border and Coast Guard Agency.

Turkey has been a key transit point for asylum seekers wishing to enter Europe to start a new life, especially those fleeing war and persecution.

Human rights groups and the media have frequently reported unlawful pushbacks and other human rights abuses by Greek authorities.

Ankara and global rights groups have repeatedly condemned Greece’s illegal practice of pushing back asylum seekers, saying it violates humanitarian values ​​and international law by putting the lives of vulnerable migrants at risk. , including women and children.

In his address to the United Nations General Assembly last month, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan denounced Greece for its “persecution” of migrants in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean.

“As we struggle to prevent more babies, like Aylan, from washing up on the shores, Greece is turning the Aegean Sea into a graveyard for refugees with its illegal and reckless pushbacks,” Erdoğan said.

Aylan Kurdi was a 3-year-old Syrian refugee whose body washed up on a Turkish beach in 2015, his photo becoming the defining image of the global refugee crisis.

“The refugee crisis cannot be solved by sinking the boats of innocent people who go in search of a better future, by letting them die, by building walls at the borders and by filling the concentration camps with people,” he said. he declared.

“It is high time that Europe and the United Nations put an end to these atrocities which constitute crimes against humanity.

“We expect Greece to avoid its policy of provocations and heed our calls for cooperation,” Erdoğan said.

Besides its inhuman pushbacks of irregular migrants, Greece also pursues “discriminatory and oppressive policies” against the Turkish Muslim minority in Western Thrace, he added.

Türkiye hopes that Greece will stop these problematic actions and that international organizations, especially the European Union, will stop turning a blind eye to its “inhumane and illegal practices”, Erdoğan stressed.

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